Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), will be temporarily stepping aside from her House duties — though not resigning from her seat — as she seeks treatment for alcoholism, according to Fox News.
The Congressional Record indicated that Kirkpatrick actually began her leave of absence on Jan. 10 due to an unspecified “medical emergency,” but only just notified her constituents and the broader American public with a statement issued on Wednesday.
Decision triggered by fall
In the statement released by Kirkpatrick’s office, the Democrat congresswoman revealed that the medical issue she was dealing with was a “serious” fall she suffered that was caused by her alcoholism.
“Beginning next week, I will receive treatment that I have struggled to ask for, to treat my alcohol dependence,” she wrote.
She went on: “I am finally seeking this help after struggling to do so in the past, and I am ready to admit that I, like countless other Americans, suffer from this disease. Hard work and determination — which have brought me success in life — have not been enough to win this battle.”
“Full expectation and desire to return”
The congresswoman further revealed that she has no intention of resigning.
“While my immediate focus is on my rehabilitation and treatment, I am taking this important step forward with the full expectation and desire to return to work stronger and healthier and to continue serving my beloved Arizona,” Kirkpatrick wrote.
She also expressed her gratitude to her Arizona constituents, her staff, and her family and friends for the support she has received.
“During my absence, my congressional offices in Washington and Arizona will be fully operational, processing all constituent requests, meetings, activities and correspondence,” she noted. “My positions on all recorded votes will be submitted to the Congressional Record and made publicly available.”
Four-term member of Congress
Politico reported that Kirkpatrick has served four terms in Congress, albeit not all in consecutive order or even in the same district.
She initially served a district in northern Arizona before being voted out in favor of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). She then mounted a failed challenge in 2016 against the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and then eventually returned to Congress after she was elected in 2018 to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Martha McSally, who was selected to serve out the remainder of McCain’s term in office after his death.
It is unclear when she plans to return to Capitol Hill.